Odour of Chrysanthemums Metaphors and Similes

Odour of Chrysanthemums Metaphors and Similes

“Miners, single, trailing and in groups, passed like shadows diverging home.”

This simile comparing miners to shadows is an example of the recurring motif and symbolism of darkness that permeates throughout the story. This image connects with the youngest boy, John, being described as hidden in the shadows with face merely a darker mark contrasting with the surrounding shade of darkness.

“The pit-bank loomed up beyond the pond, flames like red sores licking its ashy sides, in the afternoon’s stagnant light.”

The pit is where the tragedy of the story is going to be centered and through the simile of the flames the workplace is personified into a manifestation of the wounded character of the community at large and the family in particular.

“The child was like ice in her womb.”

The death of Elizabeth’s husband forces her to realize and admit the coldness of being married to a man she never really even knew and the new baby inside her made through their union is a transformed into the living symbol of that distance.


The opening paragraph of the story situates the powerful image of a locomotive startling a horse before trapping a woman claustrophobically between it and a hedge as a metaphor for the threatening danger that is the flip side of the progress that the invention of such machines also represent.

The Jesus Metaphor

The last few paragraphs of the story in which women cleanse the naked body of the dead man brought to them from out of the darkness and wrap him in burial clothing carries the heavy weight of being metaphorically linked to the Biblical description of Jesus following His crucifixion. This implied metaphor is given its most concrete realization through the linkage of the opening words of the final paragraph “At last it was finished” with the final words spoken by Jesus on the cross.

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